Image from Anders Sandberg

A beanstalk or space elevator is a strong cable (usually made of polybuckminsterfullerene or some semi-elastic diamondoid) lowered from a geosynchronous satellite and anchored to the ground. Beanstalks often have a counterweight at the outer end to provide some extra tension and stability. This weight is called an Anchor or anchorweight.

A beanstalk provides cheap and simple access to space using elevators. Most developed worlds have a series of beanstalks connecting the surface with orbitals. Although the effect from a beanstalk breaking and whiplashing around the planet would be quite serious, this has only rarely happened. Link to early space elevators.

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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Initially published on 08 October 2001.